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Sunday Open House

What's on your mind?

The USA's Confederations Cup roster (23 players) will be announced shortly. Don't expect many surprises. [UPDATE: It's now available. Most everyone from the qualifiers, except Hejduk, Mastroeni and Ching. Robles is the third keeper.]

We've got two MLS matches on the docket today -- the bottom two teams in the East and the last two clubs in the West:
San Jose at Dallas, 3 p.m. ET (Telefutura)
New York at New England, 6 p.m. (Direct Kick)

In WPS, the second-place Washington Freedom (3-2-3), with a five-game unbeaten streak, faces Marta and first-place Los Angeles (6-1-3) at Home Depot Center (6 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel). The mini-preview is here.

World Cup qualifying continues with several African matches and a Peru-Ecuador encounter in South America.

I leave you with these strong words from the usually mild-mannered Bob Bradley on FIFA's decision to allow qualifiers to be played on artificial turf, including rock-hard Saprissa: "We never make excuses, so when we play poorly in Costa Rica, we look at ourselves. The field is terrible and FIFA should not allow artificial surfaces. They should have some courage, they should stop it; it's no good for the players. Somehow, I hope the players have the ability around the world to stand up and say, 'We're not playing on this, plain and simple.'"

By Steve Goff  |  June 7, 2009; 2:57 PM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , CONCACAF , Freedom , MLS , Women  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: CONCACAF Rewind
Next: Video: Brazil Wins, 4-0


Unless someone comes up with a better idea for the FSC-deprived among us, I'll be heading to Summers for the Freedom match.

Posted by: universityandpark | June 7, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Any time someone says anything along the lines of "We don't want to make excuses", and then follows up with a complaint about something, they are making an excuse (and also making themselves into either a hypocrite or a liar). Let me translate Bradley's comments: "We never make excuses, except today, where I'm making an excuse".

Enough about the turf. Costa Rica had no problem passing well enough to make us look dumb, and the large majority of their squad calls some other stadium home. It sucks for both teams, but Costa Rica overcame it and badly outplayed us. Hats off to them. Move on.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 7, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The supporters of FC Dallas have dressed once again as empty red seats... it makes me sick to see a team build a beautiful soccer specific stadium with a fan base that doesn't appreciate or utilize it.

Posted by: MK27 | June 7, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The stadium at Cotonou? I've never Benin there.

That was a bad pun. I'm not making excuses, but it was the turf.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 7, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"Open House" makes me think anything goes here:

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 7, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

As far as the line-up, I don't think there's much question Spector and Bornstein should start at right and left back from now on. Hejduk's energy and spirit bring intangible value to the team, but they don't trump Spector's superior skills.

If Donovan, Dempsey and Bradley are all a lock in midfield, that only leaves one spot up for grabs and a lot of options. Based on the last two games, Clark is the best choice for a more defensive game plan and Feilhaber or Adu for a more offensive one. Of course, when Edu is health again, that will make things even more complicated for Bradley.

Whoever plays, the U.S. still has to do better with maintaining possession and on set plays, which are critical for this team to score.

Posted by: hudson22 | June 7, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

This Dallas game is unbelievable. I can't wait to see the announced crowd total. There might be 1,000 people there, tops.

Posted by: Hoost | June 7, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Then here we go with the Dallas-is-too-hot-to-play-afternoon-games excuse...

Posted by: Reignking | June 7, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I think the US is still in a precarious spot, and Bob isn't thinking, changing, or coming to obvious conclusions fast enough.

Totally agree about the hypocrisy of what Bob just did.

Yes, we played better as a team last night, but only after seeing Pearce, Beasley, Klejstan, and Mastroeni played to death, (all of them will make the Confed Cup, as will Failiff) while ignoring Torres, Adu, Spector, Davies, and Feilhaber unless he had no other option.

Also, he is far too simplistic. Organization is the most complex term he can come up with, and he has Not thrown away the bucket formation either. No successful team operates with two defensive mids and no playmaker, and we can see why.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 7, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I just noticed that all of this weekend's WPS matches are today, which means that WPS did a better job of avoiding conflicts with the WCQ match than did MLS.

Posted by: universityandpark | June 7, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

WPS would have scheduled matches yesterday if there were a WWCQ.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 7, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Did Hope Solo make excuses about the turf keeping her from making those saves during the last WWCQ campaign?

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 7, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse


Hejduk can play left back also. Bornstein is not strong enough physcially to handle left back. Go watch WC 2002. Frankie was excellent. I do agree that Spector is the best american outside fullback, but I think the team needs Frankie's contributions.

Posted by: no_recess | June 7, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

On FSC's "Six in 60" last night, Mehdi Ballouchy said DCU have the best fans in the league!

Posted by: Pedalada | June 7, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"Enough about the turf. Costa Rica had no problem passing well enough to make us look dumb, and the large majority of their squad calls some other stadium home. It sucks for both teams, but Costa Rica overcame it and badly outplayed us. Hats off to them. Move on." - Crest Rockwell

So, let me get this right.

The field in Costa Rica is home to several of the Costa Rican players who play for "All Costa Rican" Saprissa. You don't think that this isn't by design? Saprissa players play there week-in, week-out. Do you really think that they don't have a HUGE advantage?

Bob Bradley says he doesn't like to make excuse (and the US clearly failed to show up for the game). But the field at Saprissa plays a huge roll in the way the game is played. Unlike altitude, field surface CAN be regulated. Bob Bradley is saying that it should be and that the field's surface at Saprissa is unacceptable for a World Cup qualifier.

Posted by: TCompton | June 7, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Nothing will change about where Costa Rica plays their home games until somebody makes it worth Jack Warner's while.

Posted by: Kenobi | June 7, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Then here we go with the Dallas-is-too-hot-to-play-afternoon-games excuse...

Posted by: Reignking | June 7, 2009 4:22 PM

The usually mild-mannered Schellas Hyndman was quoted as saying: "We never make excuses, so when we play poorly in the afternoon in Dallas, we look at ourselves. The temperature is terrible and FIFA should not allow games to be started over 90 degrees fahrenheit. They should have some courage, they should stop it; it's no good for the players. Somehow, I hope the players have the ability around the world to stand up and say, 'We're not playing in conditions like this, plain and simple.'"



Posted by: jayrockers | June 7, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse


Hedjuk was great at left back in what world cup again? Almost eight years later, his athleticism isn't enough to account for a less strong left foot. The fact that Bornstein wasn't hung out to dry at left back as much as the honorable Frankie at his natural position is the deciding factor.

Bornstein should start in the Confed Cup, as he is clearly better than Pearce or Beasley, and if he can't handle it, then we'll push Boca over there and put in Demerit or, shudder, Califf.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 7, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

People speak of Jack Warner as if he's some greedy mobster. While I don't disagree, what specifically has he done to instill such hate?

Posted by: carmines757 | June 7, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Good to see the squal does not include Hejduk, Mastroeni and Ching. I know two are injured but they wouldn't be my choices anyway. Hedjuk: good hard player who I admire but technically not good enough. Mastroeni: probably time to call in quits at the international level. Ching: makes me cringe every time his first touch balloons two feet above his head before reaching the ground.

Looking at this squad I think this is the best starting line up in the Confederations cup:
Spector Onyweu Bocanegra Bornstein
Dempsey Bradley Feilhaber Donovan

Spector is easily better than Wynne. I am not even sure if wynne can trap a ball right now.

Bornstein may be a suspect defender, but DMB is not the solution. Forget the questionable touches he had on the ball, his positional awareness at left back is no where the international level. His speed/work rate alone does not justify playing him there.

I would go with Feilhaber in a slightly more advanced role. Bob Bradley needs to move beyond playing two central midfielders who sit in deep. Italy and Brazil use a series of midfielders who lay deep and spray passes. These midfielders not only constantly link the passes from the back to the forwards but also are always the escape value used to restart/switch the attack. Giving these players time and space, by playing two defending central mids, is a recipe for failure. (A great example would be of the Chelsea teams during Jose Mourhino title winning era. He deployed Makelele deep, and the key to eventually defeating these teams was to close down his space. Teams eventually man marked Makelele. If not teams have an outlet all day.)

Also, I believe in setting out a team which dictates games. Sending two defensive midfielders out does not allow this. All it says is hey we came to run around and defend hard for 90minutes, which works rarely and not enough to justify. (look to france in the last euro's they played 2 def mids and crashed out early)

Next I would use Charlie Davies. While a few posts have criticized Altidores play during the last two games I saw much improvement. His hold up and link up play was extremely good. He also won a series of balls played long and provided good flicks that Casey couldn't reach. Davies is fast and has proven to go at defenders. He also has an impressive scoring record for his club. Lets face it, Conor Casey is not going to score any goals against top competition.

Another option of mine would be replace Davies with either Adu or Torres. They would certainly keep the ball and possibly even bring some superior passing to our side.

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 7, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

United Demon:

In the words of Bruce Arena after the WC 2006, "I am looking forward to seeing Frankie Hejduk in the World Cup for 2006." So I guess you are a better evaluator of talent than the man who took this team to the quarterfinals of a World Cup. Bornstein is good enough technically. I just think he needs to be a little stronger.

Posted by: no_recess | June 7, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Fans and administrators should stop complaining about the hard turf. If these people ever played the game growing up, then they'd develop good technique in controlling the ball. Look at how African and Latin players have excellent technique; do you think they grew up playing on pristine bermuda grass surfaces? Most likely they grew up playing on dirt pitches wearing regular shoes. Poor surfaces require players to hone their technical skill in controlling and passing the ball; e.g., striking the ball from the middle to top part of the ball to make a pass that doesn't bounce. But you think the typical surburban soccer dad or "coach", arcmchair fan knows this? B. Bradley should of prepared his players better or select the ones who have decent technical skill instead of making excuses in hindsight.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | June 7, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

We are like the Bolton of international football. Score almost all goals from set pieces and few from run of play. Is this what US Soccer has evolved to under B. Bradley? B. Bradley does not really add value to the program if he still cannot win competitive away matches. Poland doesn't count. It's a given that we have no problems playing at home and he must be evaluated on away form if we are measuring progress of US Soccer since '90.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | June 7, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

ESPN lists the roster as:

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Tim Howard (Everton, England), Luis Robles (Kaiserslautern, Germany)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes, France), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Danny Califf (Midtjylland, Denmark), Jay DeMerit (Watford, England), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege, Belgium), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock, Germany), Jonathan Spector (West Ham, England), Marvell Wynne (Toronto)

Midfielders: Freddy Adu (AS Monaco), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany), Ricardo Clark (Houston), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus, Denmark), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Jose Francisco Torres (Pachuca, Mexico)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Xerez, Spain), Conor Casey (Colorado), Charlie Davies (Hammarby, Sweden), Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles)

No real surprises, people will be pleased not to see Mastroeni, though he didn't play great I think people beat up on him a little unfairly. I would rather see him on the roster than Beasley. Our forwards are lacking as well, the only one I don't have a problem with is Donovan. Altidore, well hopefully he comes around but he was garbage last night and in Costa Rica. Davis and Casey haven't done much on the National Team. Dempsey has not impressed me ever since he left midfield. I guess he has been scoring in Fulham, but he wastes opportunities for us. But I don't know who else to put in their place so they are as good as any.

Twellman is coming off injury as doesn't produce for the US, Ching is injured, Cooper can't play in the air for some reason, Johnson sucks bad enough not to get playingtime in the Championship and MCBride is retired. People are saying the left is our weekest positions, but I think up front we are just as week. We score a large amount of our goals from midfield which is going to be a problem when we are playing Spain and Brazil who are better in the midfield than we are.

Posted by: bighungry | June 7, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

"I can't think why Adu doesn't get time."

Because he's out of shape, he's a coach's nightmare, he's a teammate's nightmare, and his work rate without the ball at his feet is too low to be measured. Same reasons he doesn't get time anywhere else.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | June 7, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't thouroughly disagree with Bradley commenting on the Saprissa turf - he's playing a long standing role of wealthy nation manager whining about less wealthy nation stadium pitch. He sounds like an England manager!

If FIFA were to do something about it - wouldn't be "banning" turf, it would be overturning a fairly recent mandate allowing field turf. I don't see that happening worldwide - though I guess the confederation could step in and make Costa Rica upgrade to something softer and slower.

And we look pretty hypocritical as Americans critiqueing terrible turf when a couple stadiums in our top league have it - and bad examples of it too (NY and Utah till last season)

Posted by: Kev29 | June 7, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

@Kev29 when was the last time we played National Games at those stadiums? We aren't saying they need to fix everyone of their stadiums only the ones that they play National Games. It does make a difference both in the play and in causing injuries. No one is saying the grass has to be perfect.

Posted by: bighungry | June 7, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Bighungry: I'm not saying I like the use of turf, I'm just giving the FIFA point of view. They've authorized field turf for international play and it is being used for qualifiers in certain countries (Russia, for example). Costa Rica seem to be well within the rules playing in Saprissa. I don't know what the specific regulations are in regards to quality, padding, length, etc.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 7, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

This makes me really happy. We have most of the players I would pray for.

I just saw Italy vs Northern Ireland, and know that we are truly screwed, as I doubt we'll even give Egypt a good match. (African champions, so we are dealing with a team that ranks above Cameroon and Ghana). Then Brazil.

But... I'd rather fail now, and fix our problems (Bradley included) when it's over.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 7, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Bob I hope next time you have the balls to tell your boss instead of complaining about the Costa Rican field something of the likes of "Hey Sunil why are we playing in Tegucicalpa in the US"??? And if its cause of the money "why don't we o the best to sell the tickets to a club's fanbase instead of hte general public and have passionate Hondurans come all over the country and make us feel like we are playing in their turf against us"...

Simple logic Brad...fix your house before you try to fix someone else...

Posted by: silentbat | June 7, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Attendance: 5,724

Posted by: Reignking | June 7, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't think turf is that big of a deal if it's the more modern versions of the stuff. If it's patched together with duct tape and shoe goo, it shouldn't be allowed. If it's as TOTALLY AWESOME as the XBOX 360 PITCH that the Sounders play on, I think it should be allowed.

Again Charisma Man is right about what these guys should be ready for. I saw Bradley's interview where he admitted as we could all see that most guys don't change their boots when playing on the stuff. Why? So on one hand you complain about the surface, and you've also admitted that you are aware of turf specific shoes, yet you guys are too cool to rock the kicks? What gives?
Seems stupid to me. Emilio has been the only guy for DCU that I've ever seen wear turf shoes for a match. Why doesn't anyone else? Do they really not have the time to break in a pair and keep them in the quiver?
Again I've never been a pro soccer player, but I'll tell you what, I wouldn't go out for a for a 20 mile road bike ride in flip flops, or go skateboarding in steel toe boots, the same as I WILL NOT wear open toe shoes to RFK. That's just a bad idea...:-)

Posted by: DadRyan | June 7, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I've seen all I want to see of Beasley, and I thought BB had seen all he wanted to see of Pearce. I would seriously consider playing Boca wide left (I think that's where he is most of the time at Rennes)and pairing DeMerit with Onyewu. Or even going with a 3-5-2, except Bob might think Beasley would make an excellent wide midfielder (!)

Posted by: b18bolo | June 7, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't see Bradley going anywhere before the WC unless we bombout on the two tournaments this Summer. He isn't a bad coach, but I don't think he is a great one. I can't think of anything he has done that has impressed me. Some choices concern me like playing Dempsey upfront, still don't get that. Beasley why? I think we have other options in CB than Boca and Gouch, they are decent but I think others like Demrrit deserve more time. But for the most part the weaknesses of the team are inherint in our player pool. We don't have a good left wing, our strikers don't score enough and our passing/touch is poor. Can't blame him for that. Just my thoughts feel free to disagree of course.

Posted by: bighungry | June 7, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Why the hell is Pearce in the US team? Why ohh why? Who is he paying? The dude got laid off a second division league and subpar team in Germany. Give me a freaking break!!!

Posted by: silentbat | June 7, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Confed Cup/WC2010 is going to be a nightmare. Think back to the way you felt after we lost to Ghana in 2006...have we progressed as a team at all? How is Confed and one year going to change this squad exponentially for 2010?? Not to be doom and gloom, but where's the beef?

Posted by: ddd001 | June 8, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

"I can't think why Adu doesn't get time."

Because he's out of shape, he's a coach's nightmare, he's a teammate's nightmare, and his work rate without the ball at his feet is too low to be measured. Same reasons he doesn't get time anywhere else.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals

that is absolutely absurd. Adu is a workout freak and is a teammate's joy (except for the mistake he made at DCU when he was FIFTEEN!). All of his teammates at Benfica adored him and he trained hard every day. Yes, it is bad luck that Benfica went through three coaches during the year he was there, but you can't hang that on Freddy (who averaged a goal every 48 minutes of playing time; by far the best on the team). And at Monaco, the executive who brought him there did so without the approval of the coach. The executive resigned half-way through the year and the coach had no vested interest.

The worst valid criticism you can make about Freddy is that he doesn't track back well on defense. The rest of it is snide carping by armchair whiners drunk with schadenfreude.

Posted by: troy6 | June 8, 2009 3:36 AM | Report abuse

"Open House" makes me think the Insider is for sale. Are those brownies I smell?

Posted by: troy6 | June 8, 2009 3:37 AM | Report abuse


Well put! I think is amazing that the criticism Freddy gets based upon assumptions.

Posted by: no_recess | June 8, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Egypt lost 1-3 to Algeria yesterday and sits bottom on their group. We can beat them. We may not, but we can.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | June 8, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Two observations on yesterday's Freedom-Sol match:

1. What was up with the way the pitch was mowed? Inside the 18 at each end, there were alternating dark and light bands that were six yards wide. However, between the 18-yard lines, the bands seemed to vary between two and four yards in width, with no real pattern. People who came out to see Chivas play on Saturday, or who watched on TV, presumably saw the same thing, unless the groundskeepers created this mess on Sunday morning.

2. Where was the staple gun when Aly Wagner took a knock on the head?

Posted by: universityandpark | June 8, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

@ddd001 We have a better Goalie than in 06. Howard is far superior to Keller. Before anyone says anything about Seattle, remember its the MLS vs. the English Premier League. I think we've degressed in attack. As much as I hated McBride at the time I miss him now. Left wing we've degressed, Bealsely and Convey played well three years ago. Central midfield we've improved. The one thing Bradley did well was bring in his son as a defensive mid.

To sum up, worse on the left and upfront and better in goal and center mid. So we are inn the same place as 2006 roughly.

Posted by: bighungry | June 8, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

universityandpark: I missed the game, tho' I've read the coverage. Can you tell me how they did in the battle for the middle third? (I'm wondering how much they missed Lindsey.)

Posted by: JefComment | June 8, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

JefComment: The Sol had the edge in just about every aspect of the game. I don't think Lindsey would have made much difference one way or the other. One thng that you may or may not gotten from reports you have read is that Whitehill's handball, which brought about the Sol's second goal. was rather bizarre. She inexplicably handled a ball that was clearly going well wide of the post.

Posted by: universityandpark | June 9, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

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